My Grandma Joy keeps a clean house. My family, less so.


My parent’s basement, circa 2003.

Normally the difference between us isn’t that big of a deal…until it is.
One Christmas break, my father decided to tackle our stairs. They were old, creaky and slowly sinking like a leaky battleship. Because his shoulders aren’t always the greatest, he called and asked for help from my Uncle Kevin.


Christmas break at our house is a big deal. There is no real work accomplished, Toys (or more lately, blu rays, books and computer games) lie scattered everywhere, and we drink our weight in pop.
Into this catastrophe of holiday-ness walked my Uncle Kevin.


He was horrified. With a roar more appropriate to that of an injured bull, he unplugged the television downstairs and informed us we weren’t allowed to watch, play games or have fun until “this entire basement is clean!”
We wept bitterly against the New Order.


My parents wept too…but it was more joy that they had an extra person to help keep us in line.
We cleaned for hours and hours and HOURS. He came in at ten and left around seven, and we cleaned the entire time. It was very hard. Some of us took it harder than others.


Finally, FINALLY, the tyrant returned back to Grandma Joy’s and we celebrated our liberation late into the night.


Dad and Kevin weren’t done with the stairs, so the next day Kevin came back. He stepped into the house…and his jaw hit the floor.


The house was just as messy as it had been the day before. It was as if Kevin had never set foot in it.
Kevin made a half-hearted attempt to get us to clean it again, but his will to oppress had been broken. He finished the stairs with Dad and quickly left before he could be buried under the rising tide of toys, blankets and wrapping paper.
The moral of the story? There isn’t one, except perhaps:
Kevin, however, got his revenge several years later when we all started moving pipe.